Learning: Methods

Human research

• The use of the observational research method in psychology including the gathering of both qualitative and quantitative data (including tallying, event and time sampling)
• Types of observation: participant, non-participant, structured, naturalistic overt and covert
• Use of content analysis as a research method
Animal research
• The use of animals in laboratory experiments where results can be related to humans
Analysis of data
• With regard to inferential statistics:
• Analysis of qualitative data using thematic analysis.

Assessment Questions

Zaid conducted an animal study investigating the influence of different schedules of reinforcement on the time taken to complete a maze. Before going ahead with his study he gained the relevant licences for researching with animals from the Home Office. He separated rats into two groups to assess the impact of different amounts of food (variable ratio) against a specific amount of food (fixed ratio) as a reward for completing the maze successfully. He recorded the amount of time taken for the completion of the maze using a stopwatch and analysed his data to see if there was a difference between the two groups of rats.
1. State the independent variable (IV) and dependent variable (DV) for Zaid’s study.
2. Describe one ethical issue that Zaid needed to consider before conducting his study, which would have helped him gain a Home Office licence. (2)
3. Explain two weaknesses of using animals in psychological research. (4)

Two psychology students are arguing as to whether males or females would be more likely to stop and help a woman with a baby in a pushchair up the stairs at a busy train station. They decide to settle the argument by carrying out a structured observation.
(a) State an operationalised directional hypothesis for this study. (2)
(b) State two reasons why chi-squared might be an appropriate statistical test for this study. (2)
(c) Explain how the students could make their observation as reliable as possible. (3)